Fibromyalgia Action UK
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Medical Assessment (ATOS)

i have just received a letter from Atos for a medical assessment, how do i prepare myself for this, i am dreading it! Has anyone any advice please? The Assessment centre is miles away, fortunately my son can take me in the car, will i be able claim his fuel costs? Should i take my wheelchair? Is there anything else i should take with me? What sort of questions do they ask etc?

6 Replies

Hi Iindamorgan

Yes you can claim back your fuel costs, they pay straight into your bank account, definitely take your wheelchair and use it while you are there, take all letters from your doctor, consultants relating to your illness,s the more medical info you can provide the better (they will take copies of it) if you can ask your GP to write a letter documenting all your medical conditions & medications.

They will ask you lots of questions i.e can you wash/dress yourself, cook a meal, can you walk if so how far, do you do your own shopping, lots of question relating to how you cope with your life.

Hope my answer will help

Regards Jay x


Hi there, If you can I would take someone with you, as I would of liked some support when I went in for mine. The report that was written was nothing like what was said, even down to the fact I get up in the morning and shower ( at the time didn't have one), cooked breakfast for whole family, ( only a 17 year old at home and she has cearal ), can cope with all housework, cooking, shopping and enjoys meeting up with friends, when I had really said my mum does my housework and shopping and my daughter does the cooking and yes I said I had friends but couldn't get out to see them. Lastly according to reporting was able to take off and put on my coat with ease, I wasn't even wearing one. I did however tell them about the unbearable pain for which I take two lots of morphine, and severe depression for which I am on three tables and I am seen by local mental health team, none of that made the report

Sorry for going on , what I would say is

1) take a friend to take notes

2) ask for the medical to be recorded ( sound) and ask for copy. You need to ask for this in advance and I don't think they are allowed to say no

3) be care and only answer questions as they will try and just get u to chat

4) do not refuse to do anything, just say if you don't want to or can't do something," I will try and do it but will need your help to do it" they won't push it and it can't be marked against you as a refusal will be

5) Lastly remember they are watching you from the moment you get to the centre and will put in the report things like "was able to sit in one place for 30 minutes without pain " and all you will have done is be waiting for you.

I wish you all the luck in the world, I failed mine due to much if the above and was phoned by a lady from the DWP about two weeks later who told me this over the phone. Once I got over the shock to find I had no points I asked the lady how comes if on morphine don't I at least get some points for that, she told me according to the report she had I was fine , in no pain, had no mental health problems and enjoyed a great social life.

I did go on to explain just a little about myself to which she told me to appeal, then you get a copy of the report and put in a compliant.

I won my appeal but it made me worse for a while.

Hope it goes well, soft hugs

Caroline x



I agree with everything Caroline has said especially with the bit about getting the assessment recorded. Atos ask "closed" questions such as can you make yourself a meal. You may answer yes when all you actually do is pop a ready meal in the microwave or make yourself a sandwich BUT they will assume, from your answer, that you can peel, cut and cook veg, manually mash potatoes etc and lift heavy pans of boiling water etc. You must not answer yes or no but elaborate if something causes you difficulty.

Another way they extract information is to ask if you have a pet, if you say yes, a dog, they assume you walk it, groom it, open tins of food and carry heavy bags of dry food. With a cat they would assume you can lift cat litter, bend to empty the tray, do not struggle with a tin opener and have enough manual deterity to open a sachet. I have even heard of a lady, who was claiming for depression, who smiled when she mentioned her pet and from that they deduced she was not very depressed!

At my own assessment they decided that because I was not sweating profusely or making rocking movements that I was not anxious!

Even when they ask you how you got to the assessment they extract info from your answer. If you travelled by bus, train or car they assume you can sit comfortably for however long your journey took, they do not ASK you if you were comfortable. Also they will know how far it is from the train station/bus stop/nearest car park and, unless you tell them to the contrary, will assume you had no problems walking that distance. Even asking if you watch TV has a purpose, if you say Coronation Street they assume you can sit for 30 mins without discomfort and have no problem with concentration as you followed the storyline.

EVERY question is geared to glean information so make sure you TELL them exactly how things affect you and do NOT just say yes or no. Also once again I MUST stress the importance of getting it recorded. Take your medications with you and a print out of all your repeat prescriptions (re order slip willdo) They do not always contact your GP, so maybe you could get a letter or report from him/her? Although many do charge for this. If you can take something from a consultant, therapist specialist etc that could also help.

Lastly Atos reports are notorious for being inaccurate and misleading therefore once you have had your assessment tell the DWP you want a copy (they have to supply one if you ask) then go through it with a fine tooth comb to make sure it is accurate. If you have "failed" (as many do hence the thousands of appeals) you can appeal and if there were errors use that fact in your appeal. Recent figures show that 40% of appeals are successful, this figure rises to 70 to 80% if the claimant is represented (citizens advice for example)

Good luck and best wishes



Can i ask for a home visit or a centre that is closer?


I too have mine on the 29th of this month I am so worried as I am still working ...I worry that they think I can mange when they dont see how really ill I can be...I wish you luck.


If they fail me and i put in appeal what happens about my esa will i still get that until the appeal or will i have to go on to jobseekers?


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